Ryan McManus, chief creative officer at VMLY&R South Africa, says that this accolade is a gratifying achievement for the 10-year-old agency and a testament to the type of work it produces.

“This award reinforces our belief in purpose-driven work that lives in people’s lives,” he says. “This is an ethos with real meaning, a practice we live and breathe every day. We actively create real connections between brands and their consumers. And it shows in the work.”

In 2013, a partnership with global digital marketing giant VML further entrenched NATIVE’s leadership position in South Africa. In 2018, Y&R, another WPP company, merged into VML.

This meant integrating the digital heritage of NATIVE with Y&R’s ‘more traditional through-the-line creative’ expertise, as well as being able to give clients the ability to create a brand experience across every touchpoint.

“Our clients are brave enough to trust us; they give us the freedom to push the work beyond the obvious and deep into the communities they serve,” McManus says. 

“We always strive to create work that is popular culture, rather than advertising — work that people choose to spend time with,” concludes McManus. He says that brands should not exist in the pre-roll before a consumer’s chosen content, but should bring consumers the entertainment they actually want to watch.

VMLY&R has tailed the top 10 agencies in the region, with VMLY&R Dubai taking the top spot as the #1 Agency of the Decade. This has positioned the global agency as one of the strongest in Africa and the Middle East for brands looking to harness creativity, technology and culture to drive value for their clients.

For more information, visit www.vml.com. You can also follow VMLY&R on FacebookTwitter or on Instagram.